In conjunction with Inverclyde Heritage's Coastal Trail
Inverclyde Coastal Path provides delightful scenic walks, with views across the Clyde to the Dumbartonshire hills, the Argyllshire hills and the Highlands. It offers around 23 miles of easy walking, with a mixture of rural paths and urban promenades. For long distance walks it links naturally to the popular Ayrshire Coastal Path which is a further 84 miles in length, and to the north the Inverclyde path has the potential to connect through Renfrewshire to the Forth and Clyde Canal and the West Highland Way. Sections of the coastal path are also ideal for day walks. Full facilities to meet every need of walkers are available at points along the route, and there is ample public transport.
Redevelopment along areas formerly associated with our shipbuilding history is already providing well designed sections of path. The Inverclyde Heritage Coastal Trail project provides waypoint information signs and benches at strategic points, and is in process of providing directional signs.
Our ambition is to promote further path improvements including waymarking along the length of the coastal route. Redevelopment of the former Inverkip Power Station site promises a delightful new sea walk.
This outline describes short sections suitable for a few hours walk, which can readily be combined for full day or weekend walks. The route is shown from Finlaystone in the east heading west and south to reach Wemyss Bay and hence Ayrshire, it can easily be reversed.
The path is not waymarked and many junctions lack signposts, so print this out to take with you. Photos of key points along the walk are shown in the Coastal Path gallery at bottom of this page.
The OS Explorer map 341 covers this area and the Ayrshire coast as far as Saltcoats, useful but not essential as the route is pretty obvious.
Remember to follow the Country Code: Take away only memories and photographs, leave only footprints.
(distance starting from Parklea car park, going to Finlaystone Burn, then returning west along the trail)
The Finlaystone Burn, grid ref NS367739, marks the eastern boundary of Inverclyde, and a scenic starting point for the coastal trail. This is most readily reached from Parklea, walking along the park path and the shore to the burn then following the same route back via Parklea to continue west along the Coastal Trail. Parklea is largely a National Trust for Scotland Nature Reserve under Stewardship of Inverclyde Council, please take care to avoid disturbing wildlife on the shore.
Alternatively, the burn can be approached from the east in summer months by walking along the River Clyde foreshore at low tide, this is a bird sanctuary and winter access is restricted. The burn itself is too deep to cross, but for around 3 hours on either side of low tide the water splays out wider into rivulets with a depth around 2 inches (5cm) which can be crossed in a few steps.
Getting There: For walkers coming through Renfrewshire westwards via Langbank by the pavement along the south side of the A8; at Woodhall Roundabout continue on the pavement down on to Glasgow Road, then carefully cross the road to the path entrance marked by two stone features, and go through the low tunnel under the railway line. Turn right along Parklea Road, go through an underpass below the roundabout, past Kelburn Park entrance, and follow the pavement along towards the Parklea car park. After crossing the entrance road from the roundabout, either continue on the pavement, or go over to the path with steps down to continue close to the shoreline. (Walkers going east along the coastal trail join this route from Kelburn Park.)
From the car park at Parklea, park roads and tracks allow access along the southern perimeter of the football pitches (or the coastal walk can be followed along the north edge of the playing fields) to gain access to a beach walk heading east to reach Finlaystone Burn about 1 mile from the car park.
Road access: the road north from Woodhall Roundabout leads to car parking at Parklea Playing Fields (busy at weekends), alternative parking available at Port Glasgow.
Train: Woodhall railway station provides the nearest public transport to Parklea. From the north side of Woodhall station, a footbridge over the main road gives access to the coast at Kelburn Park. Go east, following the path close to the shore to reach Kelburn park entrance. An option is to take the pavement along Parklea Road running east on the north side of the railway line to an underpass and past Kelburn park entrance. From here, continue to the car park, which is about 900m walk from the station (detailed directions as walkers' route above). Alternatively, the car park is 3 miles from Langbank station via the pavement along the south side of the A8 (as described above).
Trail west from Finlaystone Burn; return westwards along the beach and rough grass shoreline to join the coastal grass path at the start of the playing pitches. Information boards describe the wildlife and history along the coastal footpath, including the eroded wooden posts sticking out of the sea which are remains of the old timber ponds where wood for shipbuilding was weathered. The path joins a park track and passes the stadium to reach Parklea car park, about 1 mile from the burn. Continue going west close to the coast for about 600m, then cross over to the pavement to reach the entrance to Kelburn Park. The path around the perimeter of the park next to the shore turns inland after about 600m to a junction with the footbridge from Woodhall station. The trail continues westwards by a walkway along the shore for 1km to a former shipyard, now park area, past Lamont's pier to the 16th century Newark Castle, a Historic Scotland property open to the public.
Behind the castle, Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd continues a long tradition of shipbuilding work. The pavement round the shipyard and footpath by the Fire Station then leads north to Coronation Park, infilled on the former dock and harbours of Port Glasgow. The park path along the seawall leads past old bond buildings at Mirren's Shore and along Steamboat Quay past a tall Navigation Lamp. Go along Anderson Street past the boat yard, turning right towards the roundabout, and note the replica of the 1812 paddle steamer Comet, the first successful steamboat in Europe, on the other side of the Tescos exit from the roundabout, close to the site of the shipyard where its original was built. If you want to leave the walk here, cross the main road at pedestrian traffic lights to get to Port Glasgow town centre with facilities and station.
Access: car parking and railway station in Port Glasgow, numerous bus links. Start at roundabout, grid ref NS319747
From Anderson Street at the north side of the Tesco Roundabout, take the coastal path constructed along the river edge of the once giant Lithgow's shipyard (A short distance along, pedestrian traffic lights give access to this path across the dual carriageway from Tescos and Port Glagow). At the Kingston housing development, the trail continues along Lithgow Way: turn right at the T junction, then left along Iron Way. Go down past the children's play area to continue westward along the shore path. Where it ends, go south along Crunes Way, then turn right onto Scott Way to pass inland of the Inchgreen Drydock. Follow the pavement past the entrance of the drydock, and a footpath leads up to join the pavement of the A8 main road.
From here go West along the pavement beside the main road, continuing straight ahead past the road entrance to the James Watt Dock marina. At the roundabout past MacDonald's restaurant, turn right onto James Watt Way and go past past the Point Hotel to reach the quayside of the James Watt Dock. From here, turn left to join the new coastal promenade going westward along the shore line of what was Scott's Shipyard. Follow it round between the Cartsburn West call centres and the old dry dock, then turn right along the pavement past the dry dock. Go across to the quayside of Victoria Harbout, and continue west along the wharf past The Tail of the Bank restaurant. Continue on the quayside of the East Harbour, crossing the infilled graving dock to reach the seafront and go west in front of The Beacon arts centre (and restaurant).
After admring views from the quayside in front of the magnificent Customhouse Building, continue west along the new promenade past the Waterfront leisure centre to the Cinema. At the end of the promenade turn south beside Custom House Way, then turn right on to Container Way. Continue on Clarence Street past the Container Terminal, then left down Patrick Street before turning right at the traffic lights onto Brougham Street (A770). Alternatively, from the promenade cross Container Way and go through past the entrance to Tesco's to traffic lights giving access to the town centre which has shops, cafes and public toilets, and follow West Blackhall Street westwards to join the A770.
The busy container terminus on the right was built as Princes Pier for the Glasgow and South Western Railway, in the golden age of Clyde Steamers. At Campbell Street turn north to join Greenock Esplanade, passing a cafe. There are public toilets on the continuation north of Campbell Street, just before the small harbour. Walk the Esplanade west then past the Royal West Boat Club turn right along Eldon Street to walk past the Admiralty buildings to the entrance to Fun World. Turn south for Fort Matilda Station, or continue on to enter Battery Park and go north to the shore line past the Pavilion which has public toilets.
Access: car parking at Battery Park Pavilion, bus services along Eldon Street, Fort Matilda railway station is about 200m south of the park entrance which is at grid ref NS255776
Enter the Battery Park at its road entrance from Eldon Street. Follow a footpath north past the Pavilion to the shore path which runs westward to Cardwell Bay. Here a shore footpath links to the pavement along Cove Road. This joins the pavement along Tarbet Street (A771) to Gourock Pierhead at Kempock Point. Go through Gourock Railway station (there are public toilets not far to the left along Shore Street). When the station is closed at night or on Christmas Day and New Year's Day, go left along Chalmers Street or across the railway footbridge then turn right along Shore Street to reach the station.
Turn right to head southwest along Kempock Street, which features shops, cafes and pubs. Pass the heated outdoor salt water swimming pool and continue on along the Ashton Road promenade, with public toilets midway. Past Royal Gourock Yacht Club this promenade becomes a wide pavement to Cloch Road (A770), passing the Western Ferries pier and on past the picturesque Cloch Lighthouse, with extensive views to the Holy Loch and Loch Long.
As the promenade continues south it turns away from the road into Lunderston Bay picnic area, part of the Clyde Muirshiel Park, with a ranger centre and public toilets. The car park is just across the road from the Cardwell Garden Centre, which features a cafe. There are no bus stop signs, but stand beside or opposite the garden centre entrance, hold out your hand and the regular (half-hourly) bus service will stop on request, heading south or north.
Access: car parking at Lunderston Bay grid ref NS204745, bus service along the A770 from Glasgow to Largs via Gourock, Inverkip and Wemyss Bay.
From Lunderston Bay car park, a path follows the shore for about 2 miles, past fields and then through Ardgowan woods to reach the Kip Marina. The path follows the shore past houses, then round the perimeter of the marina itself past the Chart Room restaurant to the main entrance, passing Cafe Riva. A footbridge goes across the main road to Inverkip village, with hotel bar and another cafe, but to keep to the coastal trail stay on the shore side of the A78 main road, following the footpath south west past Inverkip Yacht Club to the car park and toilets at Inverkip war memorial.
The pavement south from there has a narrow section before diverging from the main road and then dipping down to the power station entrance road. It rises again to main road level before reaching the North Lodge at the entrance to the Wemyss bay housing estate.
Follow Ardgowan Road past the primary school and either take the unmade path south through woodland, or continue on the pavement beside Ardgowan road on down to turn left along the shore at Undercliffe Road with its scenic views across the bay to the Pier and across the Firth of Clyde. If following the path through the woods, this emerges at Cliff Terrace Road: follow this east for a short distance, then turn right down Wallace Road to Undercliffe Road, then left along Wemyss Bay Road with views over the bay.
Take Wemyss Bay Road east along the shore to rejoin the A78 footpath, turning right to go under the railway bridge. After 200m turn right into the car park of the Wemyss Bay Pier and Railway Station, grid ref NS193685, and continue into the station, admiring the glazed roof. The Station Bar has an adjacent cafe, and there is a bistro across the road. The station and pier is a unique and splendid example of Victorian railway architecture, exemplifying the Caledonian Railway at its finest. It forms a fitting terminus to both the Inverclyde Coastal Path and the Ayrshire Coastal Path as described at www.ayrshirecoastalpath.org/
© Inverclyde Ramblers, March 2015. Both this route description and the photos are licensed under under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license: see commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Inverclyde_Coastal_Path for photos and license.